Swordfish

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Swordfish

Like Jerry Bruckheimer, Joel Silver generally produces the movies 12-year-old boys might make if they had unlimited resources: loud, frenetic, and filled with shattered glass, explosions, and other action-movie clichés that should have died with the film career of Andrew "Dice" Clay. Swordfish was directed by Dominic Sena, but like Sena's previous film, the Bruckheimer-produced Gone In 60 Seconds, it's dominated by its producer's expensive, numbingly familiar brand of cinematic excess. Picking up pretty much where Gone In 60 Seconds left off, Swordfish details the techno-fueled adventures of yet another good man forced to commit crimes to save a family member. Cast as the world's hunkiest, most socially adept computer hacker, Hugh Jackman plays a down-and-out whiz lured by master criminal John Travolta into resuming his hacking endeavors. Because no Silver or Bruckheimer epic would be complete without a large, colorful, wasted cast, Jackman must also contend with smart lawman Don Cheadle, henchman Vinnie Jones, and mysterious Halle Berry, whose nude scene is a lot like Swordfish itself: heavily hyped, expensive, and thoroughly anticlimactic. To inject a little human drama, screenwriter Skip Woods resorts to the oldest trick in the book, putting a child's life in danger. This time, it's Jackman's daughter, a precocious, walking, talking plot device who lives exclusively with her boozy, porn-star mom and pornographer step-dad when not held hostage. When Silver puts his considerable muscle behind visionary filmmakers like the Coens (The Hudsucker Proxy) or the Wachowskis (The Matrix), the results can be unforgettable, combining the vision of independent iconoclasts with the resources of Hollywood. Too often, however, his films end up like Swordfish: loud, headache-inducing, live-action video games that expend plenty of money, time, and energy going nowhere.

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